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Afield and Afloat

NEBRASKAland Magazine staff will share their experiences in Nebraska’s great outdoors, reveal what goes into producing the magazine, and toss in the occasional photo tip, ideas on where to go, and what to do outside.

Panhandle Passages: Moving the Spotlight

With the sun just below the horizon, this scene at Whitney Lake is brightened by a dead tree and stars. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

One day this week I set out early looking to capture photos of migrating sandhill cranes which commonly stay over in our area on their journey southward this time of year. Even though I had heard promising reports from the previous night I didn’t find where the cranes were resting for the night. I did, however, capture the above image which I believe is worth keeping. One of the challenges in landscape photography is recognizing the portion of a scene ... Read More »

Fall Crafts at Ponca State Park

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Come celebrate the beginning of the holiday season on Saturday, November 8 at Ponca State Park. The entire family can make pinecone owl ornaments, fall wreaths and then test their archery skills at the Eric Wiebe Shooting Complex. Meet at the Resource and Education center at 10 a.m. to learn about the owls of Ponca State Park while making your own owl craft to display at home for the fall season. All ages are welcome at $2 per craft. Then ... Read More »

Ponca State Park’s Hallowfest Proceeds Go Back to Community

Ponca State Park’s 16th Annual Hallowfest enjoyed beautiful fall weather this past Saturday, October 18. Crafts and activities were enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. The park’s main attraction, Haunted Hayrack rides, pulled in over 900 guests. Proceeds from the rides were given back to the surrounding communities through: Ponca Fire and Rescue, Allen Consolidated School’s Junior Class, Ponca High School’s “One Act” group, and the Ponca Honor Society. The event’s famous pumpkin rolling contest had three age ... Read More »

Smoky Gray Photos

Scott Justice of Chadron harvested this turkey of the erythristic, or red, color phase. (Submitted photo)

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of ... Read More »

Soldiers Point the Way at Fort Atkinson SHP

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By Julie Ashton, Friends of Fort Atkinson If you have driven into Fort Calhoun lately, you’ll notice a few new soldiers standing on the north and south sides of town. These soldiers, made of iron and painted to look 3-dimensional, are part of an effort to bring additional recognition to Fort Atkinson State Historical Park and help brand the area as a “fort” town. A plan was laid out that would involve the Commission, the Fort, the City of Fort ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

Wild turkeys, one of which is likely a "smoky gray" phase bird, walk through grass in the Nebraska National Forest. (Photo by Justin Haag)

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that ... Read More »

BOW Workshop Empowers Women

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Nestled in beautiful fall colors and cool temperatures of the Nebraska National Forest, the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop was held last weekend at the 4-H camp near Halsey. The BOW workshop is a place where women of all backgrounds and ages gather to learn more about the outdoors in a non-intimidating, friendly environment. It is a weekend of hands-on experiences, learning new skills, making new friends, renewing old friendships and having a great time. I write about this ... Read More »

$5 Youth Permits for Deer and Turkey

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If a child is not exposed to hunting in his childhood, he or she most likely won’t pursue it as an adult. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission aims to making hunting affordable to any youth interested in hunting through its innovative $5 youth permit program. For just $5, hunters ages 15 and under can buy a turkey or deer permit in Nebraska — regardless of residency. Furthermore, hunters age 11 and younger are not required to complete firearm/bow hunter ... Read More »

Paddlefish Stocking in Central Nebraska Canal System

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This past week the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission stocked 990 paddlefish at Gallagher Canyon and Midway Canyon Reservoirs located south of Cozad. The twelve-inch paddlefish have been stocked in efforts to offer anglers a chance in central Nebraska to be able to snag or use bow and arrow on mature paddlefish. “We hope to establish a sufficient population so that a season can be implemented similar to that on the Missouri river,” said Dave Tunink, Assistant Administrator Fisheries Management ... Read More »

Fox Hunting in the Sandhills

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Bob Grier wrote a story called Horses and Hounds in the 1994 April issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine. Twenty years later, I’m revisiting the same subject, except this time, I will be telling the story and photographing from horseback. My story on Nebraska fox hunting is still a work in progress, but since our bloggers here love to write about themselves, I guess this is a perfect opportunity for me to do the same. If there is one thing I love ... Read More »